Participants of “Future” forum on the Diaspora, the future and their visions

On November 27, the RA Ministry of Diaspora, the Union of Armenians of Russia, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the “Imast” (Meaning) Youth Association of Nizhni Novgorod launched the 2nd Forum for Leaders and Representatives of Armenian Youth Organizations of Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora, which is entitled “Future”.

Hayern Aysor’s correspondent sat down for an interview with the participants of the forum, who are presenting the activities that they have carried out in their respective communities, as well as their questions and expectations from the forum.

Anton Vardanyan-Executive Director of “Nayiri” Armenian National Cultural Autonomy in Stavropol, Russian Federation

“I have been an active member of the community since 2012. Over the past four years, the Armenian community of Stavropol has been closely collaborating with the RA Ministry of Diaspora. We always participate in the programs and events of the Ministry of Diaspora, and this forum is no exception. Just recently, we organized a teleconference for our community and the RA Ministry of Diaspora, during which we discuss joint programs, as well as the issues and future plans. It’s safe to say that the “Nayiri” Armenian National and Cultural Autonomy of Stavropol is quite organized and holds various events throughout the year. Besides community events, we also work with the executive bodies of the city of Stavropol, participate in the sessions of the committees that are adjunct to the city council, as well as try to solve the problems related to our compatriots’ integration and other problems that we face here.

I must proudly mention that our autonomy organizes Armenian language courses for three groups. We’re also culturally active. We have a music club that provides Armenian duduk lessons for those who would like to learn. We also have a national song and dance ensemble that has nearly 100 child members.”

Ruslan Trapizonyan: President of the Union of Armenians of Gagra in Abkhazia

“I have been the President of the Union of Armenians of Gagra for the past couple of months, and this is all really very interesting for me. It’s also new and instructive. As far as the achievements of the Armenian community of Gagra are concerned, I would like to proudly mention that an Armenian church was built in Gagra two years ago. The construction of the Holy Savior Church of Gagra was made possible through donations from several benefactors. This was a major event not only for the Armenians of Gagra, but also all the Armenians of Abkhazia since the Armenians finally had a church in the country. The Speaker of the Parliament of Abkhazia was also attending the ceremony of consecration of the church. The major issue facing many Armenian communities of the Diaspora is the language issue, and it’s safe to say that the Armenian community of Abkhazia is no exception. The youth, including me, have trouble speaking in Armenian, and there are many objective reasons for that. True, there are 31 Armenian schools in Abkhazia, but the number of schoolchildren is declining. For instance, out of the 10 Armenian schools in Gagra, there are only 6 active schools, and unfortunately, the other 4 have been closed down.”

Nina Mehrabyan: active member of the youth organization of the Armenian community of Minsk (Belarus)

“I was born in Belarus, but I have been living in the Homeland for the past two years, and this is one of my and my family’s achievements. The first time I visited Armenia was to participate in the “Baze” Pan-Armenian Youth Reunion, after which I also participated in the programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora, including the “Diaspora” Summer School Program. I believe there should be one major objective for all the programs, and that is to help the participants move to Armenia and settle.

In 2012, I joined more than 100 Armenian youth of CIS countries and participated in the first forum for leaders and representatives of Armenian youth organizations of the CIS countries held in Rostov-na-Don. The participants of the first forum raised many major issues, but I don’t know how they were solved. Perhaps I don’t know…But I want us to have the goal and vision that will help guide us. This is the key objective. I fully agree with the idea of the Minister of Diaspora that the potential of Armenians is their minds. So, let’s use our potential as correctly as we can.”

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